We can’t blame you if you avoided pearl jewelry in your adolescent years. Admittedly, they often came with dated elements: Ultra-long strands, knots and tassels, unexciting studs and beads that were largely the same size and shape. Now, the best pearl jewelry styles come from both the established and emerging contemporary jewelry designers who have given the look an update.
Across the market, designers take different approaches to make a pearl design their own, and in the end, there’s something for everyone. “When it comes to designing new pieces, I like to opt for pearls with unusual shapes which bring out the beauty in their irregularities and texture,” Carolina de Barros, the German-Brazilian designer behind the London-based namesake jewelry line tells Byrdie. The designer often lays the unexpected pearl shapes alongside similarly unorthodox metal silhouettes for a finished-look that feels ethereal and enticing. Even when using a more traditional pearl, the designer makes sure to pair it with other abstract elements. “I like playing with different shapes and proportions, and creating an imperfect aesthetic which creates a more contemporary feel.”
While it once felt like pearl jewelry catered to one occasion or one aesthetic, the options are now so exponential, you’ll find yourself continuously adding something new to your wish list. Below, 21 pearl jewelry pieces you need to complete your cool girl accessory kit.
More darling than the name implies, chicken feet pearls have quickly become the M.V.P. silhouette for pearls this year. Dangling from liquified, front-facing hoops, you’d be hard pressed to keep your eyes off these Carolina de Barros beauties in the sunlight. But then again, who would want to?
To sum up Mudd Pearl in a few words would be “It-girl meets pearl.” Their Kitchen Sink necklace is a combination of spikey wishbone pearls and other irregular shapes juxtaposed against circular pearls that together make you rethink the idea of the classic jewelry piece.
Pearls are rarely associated with accessorizing on the wild side, but that was before this La Duke Bracelet from Santangelo entered the chat. The design uses quartz and amber to create a tiger stripe effect, and if you’re into animal print, snagging this piece is only right.
You may know Steff Eleoff as the designer behind the silver rings donned by Kylie Jenner, Olivia Rodrigo, and more, but if you look too quickly, you’ll glance over this pearl option from the brand. Its wide, squiggly design is already the star of the show and the pearl setting lends a classic touch.
When there’s the question of wearing a cluster of multi-sized pearls around your neck, the answer is always yes, and more is always more. Style this Church Pants choker with a white tank while the weather allows, or with a chunky knit for fall.
Turquoise jewelry? Great. Turquoise jewelry with a side of pearl? Even better. Serendipitous Project’s Margarita Necklace is the kind of statement piece that mentally transports you to a state of vacation, even when you’re just headed for a local outing with friends.
Returning to glam after well over 365 days of anything but? This pearl drop earring single-handedly gets the job done (pun intended). All you need next is a low bun and a backless top.
In an updated take on a pearl bracelet that is indeed not your grandmother’s, Vitaly’s Keshi bracelet adopts a classic pearl shape, then finishes off the design with similarly shaped silver balls. It’s subtle and familiar enough to style with even the most minimalist of looks, but exciting enough to guarantee you’ll be getting compliments all day.
The most elegant statement you’ll ever meet. This Agmes necklace brilliantly dangles an oversized coral-shaped pendant and a chunky pearl from a dainty silver chain, and if this isn’t the ultimate date night accessory, what is?
Florals in fashion? When we’re talking flower-shaped pearls such as Misho’s Fleur Midi Ring, it actually is groundbreaking. Stack on a couple of thin, gold bangles for styling, but the ring is guaranteed to remain the main character.
The more abstract, the better. The sure-fire way to spice up a stud pearl earring is to go with one wrapped in vine details like these Sensa Spray Pearl Earrings.
Featuring linked rings and a lone, dangling chain, this pearl bracelet feels edgy, but maintains its air of elegance. To match its vibe, wear it with a pair of asymmetric pearl earrings and layer on your best statement silver rings.
Because so many pearl options come without a color-filled element, you’ll be excited by this Rebecca Minkoff creation. Its burgundy-colored natural stones work well for any season, whether you’re wearing this to the beach or are surrounded by fall leaves.
With an intriguing rock-like shape, this irregular pearl takes on its form so well that it almost blends in with the accompanying silver structures. With a slightly larger size and an iridescent glow, you can’t miss it.
The personalized trend meets pearls in this colorful necklace from Frasier Sterling. Obviously, you can’t go without layering on a few more colorful goodies from the brand.
There isn’t a single jewelry piece from Cult Gaia you won’t want to pack for your next resort getaway, and this Nora Choker should be the first. It doesn’t stray too far from classic, but its choker style gives this a youthful spin.
Hardware attributes have become popular among edgy jewelry styles, but with baroque pearls and crystal details, this F+H Screw Statement Bracelet hits on the femininity. Try wearing yours alone with a monochrome outfit to allow its details to really shine.
Combining pearl elements with other fun jewelry trends of the moment is where the magic really happens. You may have thought you collected enough enamel styles this year to last a lifetime, but your collection isn’t complete with these dangly mini hoops.
If you want your earrings to be the center of your ensemble, it’s these Isabel Bonner Cosima Earrings you need.
Jewelry that creates an illusion always make for a great conversation piece. Make sure to style your hair back to showcase this artfully handmade floating pearl earring.
Here’s a refreshing way to do charm jewelry. Another nod to the enamel jewelry trend, this Joey Baby pearl ring comes embellished with a chili pepper, adding some extra spice to your jewelry collection.